Muslim women who fail to learn English to a high enough standard could face deportation from Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday.
He also suggested that poor English skills can leave people more susceptible to the messages of groups like Islamic State (IS). The PM also suggested failing to learn English could affect people on spousal visas who wanted to settle in the UK.
Cameron’s comments came as his centre-right Conservatives launched a Â£20 million ($28.5 million, 26 million euro) language fund for women in isolated communities as part of a drive to build community integration.
His comments drew criticism from Muslim groups and opposition parties. Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, which campaigns for better community relations, accused Cameron of “disgraceful stereotyping”.
However, he has been accused of taking a “clumsy and simplistic” approach to the issue and of “dog-whistle” politics.